Serena Gabriel heals with ambience on 'Inanna's Dream'

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A new collaboration between two Tucson musicians serves as a welcome reprieve from the lingering summer. Inanna’s Dream by Tucsonan Serena Gabriel was composed as an “ambient sonic odyssey,” drifting between the worlds of new age, drone and electronic music. Inanna’s Dream is the premiere release on the Soundquest Music label, formed by local ambient pioneer Steve Roach, who is featured on multiple tracks.

While the album features several hallmarks of Roach’s style – sweeping synthesizer notes, tribal percussion fused with ambient tones, a massive yet meditative atmosphere – Gabriel makes the album unique with her hypnotic vocals and a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments.

With a goal of interweaving ancient musical instrumentation and modern technology, Gabriel touches on feelings of vulnerability as well as rapture. She accomplished this through cool yet mantric performances on the harmonium, flute, lyre and dholak drum. In usual style, Roach contributes his expertly layered atmospheres performed on a score of keyboards.

The album’s highlight is “The Song of Sending,” which features all the elements that make Inanna’s Dream unique. A calm harmonium is infused with Gabriel’s airy vocals and steady percussion. Several layers build as the drones grow darker, yet remain subtle as incense smoke. “The Gazing Pool” is another treat, with strings panning back and forth on top of reverberated tones like drops of water.

It should be noted, however, this album really is for fans of ambient music; multiple tracks stretch past the 10-minute mark, with the album’s culmination “Changing Tides” drifting on for the better part of an hour.

According to Soundquest Music, Gabriel is a musician, dancer, healing arts practitioner and medicine music provider, whose aspiration is that her dedication to the vast potential of sound for positive transformation can be experienced through the essence of the musical offerings she creates.

It’s fitting that the project’s name references Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love and sensuality, but also war, because the album is as soothing and hypnotic as it is immense. 

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